Heads up: Proposed PNE governance model could eliminate Park Board oversight of Hastings Park: Council topic June 10 (Wed)

Hastings Parks Plan ProposalHere is an item that appears to have received no media coverage yet. The Friends of Hastings Park, posted this message: Park Board Chair John Coupar released a statement today regarding his “deep concerns about the future of Hastings Park under the new PNE governance model” which would remove Park Board representation and oversight over Hastings Park. Community input even further reduced!

As it is the only available information at the moment, we carry the original statement by Park Board Chair John Coupar here, a media release by the Non Partisan Association, dated 5-June-2015. The bolding is ours.

ACTION: The meeting where this topic will be discussed is Standing Committee on City Finances and Services (Wednesday, June 10, 2015, starting 9:30 am – agenda here). If you would like to speak at this meeting, please call Bonnie Kennett, Meeting Coordinator, at 604.873.7269 or e-mail speaker.request@vancouver.ca. You may also wish to write or speak directly with members of City Council. (This proposal comes as quite a surprise. We are not aware of prior indications from the City that this particular proposal was coming. But now you have four days’ notice.)

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Park Board Chair John Coupar Expresses Deep Concern about the Future of Hastings Park under new PNE Governance Model

Recommendations contained in City of Vancouver report will strip elected Park Board representation from the PNE Board and eliminate Park Board oversight of Hastings Park

Vancouver, B.C., June 5, 2015 [NPA media release] – Park Board Chair John Coupar is expressing deep concern over plans by the City to eliminate elected Park Board representation from the PNE Board of Directors. The governance change is contained in a report that will be presented to Vancouver City Council next Wednesday, June 10, 2015 (click here for the report – PDF).

Coupar says the new governance structure will concentrate power and control – and the fate of Hastings Park – in the hands of just one publicly elected official from City Council.

“The lack of elected Park Board oversight for one of our city’s largest parks represents a huge step backward,” says Coupar. “Let’s keep the ‘park’ in Hastings Park.”

Over the past 20 years, Coupar says, the Park Board has been dedicated to adding green space to Hastings Park, including the Sanctuary, the Italian Garden, Plateau Park, and improving greenway connections throughout the site. He is concerned about a possible change in direction at Hastings Park in the absence of elected Park Board oversight; a change that could move things away from re-establishing the site as a premier destination park in the city.

In May 2013, the Park Board Commissioners passed a unanimous motion calling for Hastings Park to be governed by the Park Board as outlined in the Hastings Park Governance review. All Commissioners – NPA and Vision – agreed that it was the best option for achieving transparency and accountability in decision-making and increasing public access to the park’s green space and recreational uses.

Historically, Hastings Park is the Park Board’s second park dating back to 1889, just two years after Stanley Park was established. The original intention was for Hastings Park to be a premier destination park in the northeast corner of the city.

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Media call or text John Coupar at 604-818-2756 or email media@npavancouver.ca

3 thoughts on “Heads up: Proposed PNE governance model could eliminate Park Board oversight of Hastings Park: Council topic June 10 (Wed)

  1. The Wall family scooped up lots of property just outside the PNE years ago. Sadly the racetrack is just not the kind of entertainment that draws enough to maintain it’s viability as developers wait for it’s run to end.
    If the PNE had pursued music concerts and other events ( how about Medieval days complete with jousting ) that could take advantage of the tiered seating perhaps it could turn a healthy profit. We’ve already seen how public pressure has dumbed down the agricultural fair to date not as far as what’s happened at Cloverdale.
    Removing VPB governance will ensure the slot machines are re-located next to BC Place while the PNE books come under the COV’s purveyor and massaged to meet the demands of the developers itching to take over acres of what will become underused or excess parkspace unable to fund itself.
    All the monies sunk into the PNE and New Brighton Park over the past few years are simply a precursor of what’s to come and common practice to minimize future CAC’s from developers, or in other words, the COV and VPB use taxpayer dollars to spruce up a park or greenspace to minimize future obligations from rezoning, upzoning and condo construction.
    Towers are coming to the PNE and it won’t be long after the well-healed move in that ‘ all that racket ‘ from playland is deemed unsuitable.
    Ask yourself, is the PNE and area better with Vision controlling the monies and priorites or worse and who from Vision will benefit from a COV controlled PNE.

  2. It will be very interesting to see if any Vancouver Park Board management or staffers will go on the record to oppose the impending loss of control of Hastings Park.
    Vision parachuted the VPB’s general manager from outside BC to ensure the COV could dictate VPB priorities and policies despite Vision claims the VPB is independent, that’s why the VPB repeatedly supported blowing more monies on 2010 Olympic projects that went tens of milllions over budget and continue to bleed losses and as we are seeing with the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup park maintenace lags while Inner-City Nbhd Residents and their parks continue to suffer thru the lack of upgrades that are decades overdue. The VPB tows the line top to bottom no matter which municipal party elected to the VPB board, thru the at-large system, claims representation.
    With the COV controlling their budget what else can we expect. With an at-large municipal system of representation who should be held accountable.

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